Midwest Legendary Radio Stations

These are the big market stations I listened to.  From Chicago to St. Louis, these were the ones which impressed me in my radio formative years.

KADI (FM) 96.3 St. Louis, Missouri

Here are some examples of the promotional material from KADI. Including a large poster for "The Rock of St. Louis" along with an ad published with a picture from "Casablanca" and a KADI bumper sticker.

(pictures from the Doug Quick Collection)

KADI began its history as an easy listening AM/FM combo known as the "KADI-twins."  KADY(AM) and KADI(FM) were owned by local businessman Richard Miller.  Under his ownership, the format changed several times from the late 1960s through the late 1980s.  It was said to be the most successful when it was "progressive rock" during the 1970s.  The station was the first FM station in St. Louis to meet with any kind of rating success during the period.  It was also a great alternative to KSHE which was a bit more "hard" than KADI.  It had a very free-form format which didn't shy away from playing a top 40 song if it fit the criteria for just being a good song.   Artist like Seals and Crofts and America actually fit right in with Uriah Heep and Pink Floyd.  It probably was best described as a "superstars" music format within a progressive presentation. 

Personalities included Radio Rich Dalton, Sam Kaiser, Melissa Knight to name but a few.  Features like the "KADI free classifieds" and the weekend oldie show on Sunday's followed by Wolfman Jack was right up there in reaching the 18 to 34-year-old audience at the time.   KADI tried to also market its logo during the 1970s with key chains, t-shirts and bumper stickers much like KSHE.  KSHE was probably more successful as it appealed to the "bad boy" demographic who were more likely to display KSHE logoed clothing and bumper stickers(see KSHE below).

Sometime in the late 1970's, KADI suffered a fire which put the station off the air for a time.  It later returned to the airwaves broadcasting from a studio on loan from KSLQ(see below).  KADI was to later transition to an adult contemporary format, tightly formatted music, highly structured during the 1980's. 

During the late 1980's the call letters were changed to KRJY, Joy 96 and J-96. Eventually, the station would change once again, this time to an oldies format called "Jukebox 96."  Miller eventually sold the station to Heritage where the call letters were changed to KIHT, K-Hits 96, with the Greatest Hits of the 70's.  It was later purchased by Sinclair where it went to a classic hits format of the 60's-80's.  It's now owned by Emmis and called K-Hits 96 with Classic Hits.  Middays are hosted by former KADI jock Radio Rich Dalton. 

Here's an aircheck from one of my favorite stations in St. Louis in the mid-'70s with Sam Kaiser.  It was a great progressive alternative to KSHE as well as the typical top 40 stations in the market.  It was a much softer, easier to listen to progressive format.  With the likes of Seals and Crofts, CSN, Gordon Lightfoot and other superstars of the 70s the station probably appealed to a more mature top 40 audience probably burnt out by the likes of KSLQ(FM) at 98.1 and KXOK(AM) at 630KC.

This is a once great radio station reduced to a shell, thanks to consultants.  It's obvious.  Sure, there's nothing wrong with the way it sounded here in 1986, but the free-form style which attracted me was totally gone.  Maybe it was the 80's music....it's no wonder it didn't work.  Here's KADI(FM) from June 11, 1986.

 

KSHE (FM) 94.7 Crestwood, Missouri

Pictures of staff above, studios right and artwork above were collected from Pinterest. If they belong to you, let me know via e-mail response on the home page and I'll give you photo credit.

KSHE began broadcasting from a basement of a house in Crestwood during the mid-1960s.  It featured a MOR format which was designed to appeal to females.  That's where to call letters came from....K-SHE.

 In the late 1960s, the station began to swing it's format to what was called "underground rock" or "progressive rock."  In an effort to appeal to those, particularly male members of the audience, who were not fans of the top 40 formats of KIRL and KXOK, KSHE chose an album-oriented format in which artists who were virtually unknown were featured.  The format was guided by Ron Elz, who was one of at least several people who played the KXOK franchise jock "Johnny Rabbitt.  The format has proven successful since around 1970, with very little changes over the years other than the natural changes in music over the years. 

The station wrote the book, or so it seems on media marketing and media branding.  KSHE probably made a fortune selling products with its logo on it.  Keychains to t-shirts, hats bumper stickers....you name it were all sold by the station at various outlets from the malls to Six Flags.  I have seen K-SHE bumper stickers with "Sweet Meat"(the pig) on vehicles from coast to coast.  That's quite a reach!   It is now owned by Emmis Broadcasting.

One  A brief history of the first 17 years of KSHE Radio covering the years 1967-1984. This was produced by John Neiman.

This short KSHE aircheck actually covers a large time frame as the station was playing complete album sides.  This is from late January

(YouTube)

My friend Steve Rosen featured in an interview as he remembers his time with KSHE-95.
(YouTube)

 

KSLQ (FM) 98.1 St. Louis, Missouri

KSLQ promotional material collected over the era. 

 

An "I Q in my car" bumper sticker along with a booklet with the KSLQ top 300 songs from Spring of 1974

 

Plus a listing and schedule of "The Breakfast Serial" an edited series of old radio shows which were part of the morning drive on KSLQ.

(from the Doug Quick Collection)

Originally KSTL-FM was part of the KSTL AM and FM combo.  The original AM station went on the air in 1948 from studios located at the American Hotel at 7th and Market in downtown St. Louis.  The format was called "a wide range of recorded music with no hillbilly numbers or hot jazz....and less yakity yak."  

In 1960 KSTL had an FM sister station at 98.1 and 76,000 watts.  Both AM and FM were simulcast operations from a transmitter sight in East St. Louis.   Around 1967 the station was sold to Foreground Music, Inc.   It's not known what the format was then, but by the early 1970's the station was sold to Bartell Broadcasting which changed the format to a Top 40 format with a call letter change to KSLQ, or Super-Q.  The studios by then were located in Clayton and under Bartell, the power of the station was increased to 100,000 watts.

 

KSLQ was pretty much why the AM Top 40 Giant KXOK at the time began to lose audience.  The format was a tight blend of pop top 40 hits and high personality jocks, with great jingles, promotions and a processed sound which was far and wide better than the AM KXOK.  

By 1979, the appeal of top 40 began to weaken, and the competition of other contemporary stations doing more targeted formats began to take a toll.  In 1979 the station switched to a more lighter format which was billed as "between Rock and a Soft Place."   By 1982 the call letters were changed to KYKY when it was doing a love songs format.  Now it's adult contemporary Y 98FM owned by CBS. 

1/2

The premiere Top 40 CHR FM station in St. Louis.  This one is from December of 1973.  High energy, high personality, jingles, and certainly more "hip" in the early '70s than AM rival KXOK. 
(YouTube)

From 1976 a KSLQ radio montage, a sampling of the sounds of Super-Q from an entire day of broadcasting.
(YouTube)

This aircheck is from August 28, 1980.
(YouTube)

 

KXOK 630AM St. Louis, Missouri

This is the KXOK Radio Story by Richard Ward Fatherley, KXOK Radio St. Louis, Missouri. This video features The Johnny Rabbitt Show. Richard Ward Fatherley was KXOK's production director, and he often did substitute work by doing DJ shifts on the air.

From August 1963

St. Louis Flashback and YouTube: Ray Otis, KXOK Radio in St.Louis, Mo. August 1963,*spencer allen news spot*kxok top 63 survey*kent cigarettes*7UP spot*pick hit of the week*baseball scoreboard*mizaraney*gidget goes to rome spot*PF tennis shoes*kxok job finder*55 days at peking spot*coke cola*sears department store*lucky strike cigarettes*kxok top 63 survey*keith morris news*

From July 1968

The Johnny Rabbitt Show - KXOK Radio St.Louis,Mo. July 1968

.*fun fair park passes giveaway*simon and garfunkel concert*news with steven b.stevens*lakehill speedway spot*indian chief skit*pepsi spot*indian chief raindance*royal crown cola spot*steven b.stevens news*mid america raceways*wrigley spearmint gum*steven b.stevens news*mid america raceways*bonus word is transition*royal crown cola contest*blab it to the rabbitt*st.louis international raceway*rabbitt voting age*monkee badge giveaway*

From the 1960s a collection of KXOK jingles and images. From YouTube and St. Louis Flashback

Videos from YouTube

 

WFYR (FM) 103.5 Chicago, Illinois

This one, I believe is from 1977.  Recorded at Macomb, Ill from Chicago.  WFYR was a 3,000-watt station with an antenna on the Hancock.  This is quite a haul to Macomb and is quite scratchy.  But it is a solid ID.  I first WFYR in the mid-'70s and was blown away at the oldies automated format.  It was a terrific....great mix of 50's-60's....and great thematic jingles.  It may have been Drake Chenault, but I can't verify it.  Crank it up, it's not very loud.

This from WYFR in Chicago which by 1978 was using the

TM jingle package called "You."   

(from You Tube)

 

WLS 890AM Chicago, Illinois

This is a collection of WLS pictures posted on Pinterest. It includes jock lineups, promotional pictures and more. If any of these are under copyright by you, drop me an e-mail and I'll either remove it or give you a contributor status under proof of ownership.

The History of WLS in less than 6-minutes.

Here is the 2008 WLS "Rewind" Tribute, produced by Art Vuolo that rain during Memorial Day 2008.

This features the jocks, photos, music, jingles and sounds of WLS during the 1960s, the early years of Top 40 WLS Radio.

(YouTube)

This is from May 3, 1971, and features Larry Lujack during the morning show of WLS.

(YouTube)

Here's another collection of sounds of Top 40 WLS from the 1960s.

A number of audio clips from December 31, 1975.

(YouTube)

Bob Sirott from June 16, 1975

(YouTube)

An hour-long air check of WLS featuring Tommy Edwards from July 5, 1980, 1-2 pm

(YouTube)

Studio A profiles John Records Landecker from the late 1970s.  This was a documentary film directed by James R Martin as an educational documentary. It was a top ten finalist American Film Festival.

Fred Winston on WLS mornings from December of 1984.

(YouTube)

This is a segment of Larry "SuperJock" Lujack's next to last day at WLS from September of 1987.

(YouTube)

 

Updated 11.16.2019

© 2002-2019 Doug Quick.

Produced by Doug Quick

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